This Christmas, ditch your generic loaves in favour of this classic French brioche recipe taken from Éric Kayser’s The Bread Book.
Servings: 3 brioches
- 600 grams cake (pastry) flour (T45/farine de gruau)
- 2 tbsp fine salt
- 22 grams fresh yeast crumbled
- 85 grams water at 20°C (68°F)
- 7 tbsp whole milk
- 5 eggs
- 90 grams caster sugar superfine
- 2 tbsp dark rum
- 1 tbsp orange flower water
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 140 grams butter softened
- 1 egg beaten, for glazing
- 1 pinch fine salt
- The previous day, mix 100 g (3⁄4 cup/ 31⁄2 oz) of the flour with 2 g (1/3 tsp) of the salt in a bowl, using a whisk.
- In a small bowl, dissolve 2 g (1⁄2 tsp) of the yeast in the water. Mix the dissolved yeast into the flour and salt mixture with a rubber spatula. Transfer the dough to a floured work counter and shape into a non-sticky ball. Put the dough into an airtight container with a lightly greased lid and refrigerate for at least 15 hours.
- On the day, combine the milk with the eggs, sugar, rum, orange flower water and vanilla extract in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed, then crumble in the remaining yeast and add the rest of the flour and knead on low speed until all ingredients are incorporated. Add the remaining salt while kneading. Incorporate the fermented dough from the previous day and mix on medium speed for 15 minutes until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the butter and knead for 15 minutes on high speed, until the dough again comes away from the sides. The dough should be smooth and glossy. Transfer to a lightly floured bowl, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) in direct contact and leave to rise for 30 minutes at room temperature. The dough should only rise slightly. Refrigerate for between 2 hours and overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 30°C (86°F). On a floured work counter, divide the dough into nine pieces of equal weight (about 145 g/51⁄4 oz each). Roll them into uniform 25–30-cm (10–12-inch) strips (a) (b) (c) (d) (e). Place three strips vertically and seal them together at one end. Then plait (braid) them together (f) (g). Seal the other end and tuck both ends under (h). Repeat the operation to make two more brioches. Transfer the brioches into greased loaf pansand brush them with eggwash made by beating the egg, milk and salt together. Turn off the oven and put the brioches inside to prove (proof) for 1 to 11⁄2 hours.
- Remove the brioches and preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Glaze the brioches again with eggwash and bake for about 25 minutes, keeping an eye on them.
- Remove the brioches from the oven, then cool on a wire rack.
Recipe extracted from The Bread Book by Éric Kayser.
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